• Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings

    EH9 3JG Edinburgh

    United Kingdom

  • West Mains Road, Kings Buildings, Peter Wilson Building

    EH9 3JG Edinburgh

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

1995 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile


My current main role at SRUC is in management and delivery of MSc programmes. My current teaching includes; one HND level Environmental Law module (delivered online, twice a year); one BSc and one Honours module (both in GIS, I am the cross-campus coordinator for both); supervision of occasional honours projects; Course Organiser for three MSc courses (Professional and Research Skills in Practice (80 students); Introduction to Environmental Modelling (30 students); Land Use/Environmental Interactions (40 students)); an optional series of eight MSc GIS workshops; overall management of the MSc EPM dissertation course; teaching field skills on individual courses as well as on residential fieldtrips. I also contribute specialist sessions to several other modules and courses. 

I previously taught many undergraduate modules, including Research Skills and Data Analysis, Ecology (years 1-3), Action for Biodiversity, Multipurpose Woodland Management, as well as field skills on field courses.

As a lecturer at Monash University, Australia, I taught statistics, plant and vegetation ecology, modelling and field skills on several campus courses and residential fieldcourses. 

Research interests

My previous research interests focused on applied ecology and rangeland and woodland management, interests that continue today. However I am increasingly involved in modelling and spatial data approaches, as well as interdisciplinary studies that address environmental issues from different key perspectives. Along with Simon Gibson-Poole I oversee the development and use of UAV (drones) across various research and education initiatives, ranging from pest and disease detection in crops to flood modelling in river systems. This often requires working with external bodies - for example I am currently an advisor on a Thai project using UAV to detect excessive pesticide and fertiliser use in SE Asia. 

Whilst my primary role at SRUC is in MSc programme management and delivery, I maintain a research profile through PhD and MSc students, as well as being involved individually in various research and consultancy projects. 


MSc students (ongoing). Primary supervisor for 6-8 dissertations each year, plus second supervisor to others. 

PhD student (2021 onwards). 'Spatial modelling of land use and bumblebee populations', joint with the University of Edinburgh. 

PhD student (2019 onwards). 'Coupling land and contaminated soil remediation with plant biomass growth on abandoned coal mines', joint with the University of Edinburgh.

PhD student (2018-2021). 'Soil matters: impacts of farming practices on natural regulation of root pests of field vegetables', joint with University of Edinburgh.

PhD student (2017-2020). 'In Pursuit of Just Forest Governance: Lessons from the Everyday Practices of Environmental Impact Assessment in Indonesia', joint with the University of Edinburgh. 

PhD student ( 2015-2019). 'Filling the sensor gap: Applying UAS technology to land-use research', joint with University of Edinburgh. 

Previous employer

University of Stirling (2004-2006). Post-doctoral research associate – Centre for Environmental History, and Department of Economics. 

  • Ecological surveys, historical ecology. Defra contracts: crop modelling, impact of CAP and HFA change.

Forest Research (2004). Mammal ecologist.

  • Deer population modelling, SNH contract reviewing effects of climate change in the uplands.

Monash University (2002-2004). Lecturer, School of Biological Science.

  • Lecturer on range of modules focusing on applied ecology and conservation. Supervised honours, masters and PhD students (fire ecology, mammal ecology, vegetation dynamics).

RSPB (2001-2002). Research Biologist, Abernethy NNR.

  • Initiated research into Scots pine forest management using cattle and fire as management tools.

University of Edinburgh (2000-2001). Post-doctoral research associate – Instutute of Ecology and Resource Management

  • EU project (Modmed) modelling Mediterranean vegetation dynamics. Main role developing dynamic model of vegetation and soil, to link with GIS model of animal movement.

RSPB (1999-2000). Reserves Ecologist

  • Set up research and monitoring on various upland/woodland reserves into changing grazing regimes.

Pre-2000. Various roles

  • Self-employed: studies on rare plants (for SNH), bird and wildlife surveys (for Shotton Forestry), development of crop knowledge base (EU project with Dr. G. Russell, IERM/SAC).

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The characteristics and effects of management fire on blanket-bog in north-west Scotland, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 7 Dec 2001

Bachelor, BSc Ecological Science (Hons) Ecology, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 6 Jul 1994


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